Temporal Bone Dissection: a unique course

Time-poor medical practitioners need access to quality, well-structured courses they can study in a flexible manner, in their own time and location, from any device. A new, highly interactive course offering from University of Melbourne does exactly that with VR technology, and hand-on practice model of artificial temporal bone. Aimed at ENT surgeons, trainees, otolaryngology nurse groups and those from hearing implant companies, it offers a step-by-step guide on how to perform temporal bone dissection.

This delicate procedure exposes the inner ear, and structures at risk include the facial nerve, tympanic chord, cochlea and carotid artery. Three courses in one, this package includes theoretical and practical components, to ensure students have the most comprehensive training possible.

One of the course’s directors is Dr Jean-Marc Gérard. An ENT consultant at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and an Honorary Associate Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne, Dr Gérard is enthusiastic about the course’s unique structure.

“The advantage of this course is that it allows the student to progress gradually from theory to practice. Yes, it is important to begin with 2D illustrations and videos, but they need to get a 3D perspective as well, to really understand the relationship of the structures to each other.”

On completion of the course, students will be able to identify the landmarks and relationships between the key anatomical structures. They will learn to drill and expose the middle ear structures and learn specific surgical tips to improve dissection and minimise complications.

Beginning with the online theory component, the student then moves onto consolidating their knowledge with a virtual reality simulator course, and then finally has the opportunity to practise their newly acquired skills using an artificial temporal bone.

Dr Gérard explained that although the components of the course may be offered separately by other providers, nobody has put them together in quite this way.

“Our students will have consistent terminology used throughout. For the virtual reality part, they receive autofeedback in real time, from supervisors who will be guiding them, and can say, for example, ‘Be careful, you are getting very close to the facial nerve’.”

Practising the physical dissection has historically taken place using cadavers. This presents problems when assessing students, however.

“Cadavers are not flexible. And every one is different, of course,” said Dr Gerard. “This makes it difficult to compare students. When we use artificial bones from the same supplier, they are all exactly the same, so we can assess students’ skills in a more controlled way”.

Students have the flexibility to study the theoretical part of this CPD-approved course when and where it suits them, from any device, using iOS, Android or Windows systems. They will complete the virtual reality component at Melbourne University, at a time convenient to them. And the optional artificial bone dissection can also be done in their own time.

The course will be available from early 2019. You can find further course information by visiting the course page here

Course Information

  • Temporal Bone